SotD80 - Sue Wilkinson


Inspired by our series of articles looking back at music released 30 years ago, Jimmy Hunter takes a step further back in time to give us a Song of the Day 1980. This week, he got to be an unedited hustler...


For 40 years dear reader, yes!! 40 years, I have searched and searched and never found it. Until today. Today being Monday 27th July when I put the finishing touches to the article. Only once did I hear the version of this record that the BBC didn’t want us to hear. And that was played by Annie Nightingale. On Radio 1 too!! Rude for TV broadcast on Top of the Pops in 1980 that is.

Now don’t get over excited – this week’s tune is a fab ditty written and performed by Sue (the hair) Wilkinson: You’ve Got To Be A Hustler (If You Wanna Get On). It was dismissed at the time as a bit of fluff; comedy nonsense not to be taken seriously. I disagreed then and do so now much more fervently, particularly post #MeToo and the abuse scandals that have come to light.

Wilkinson was taking a very clever approach to this – an approach that women have taken for an eternity: pretend to have no knowledge and no substance and you’ll be accepted but have a deadly serious message in your fluffy meanderings. The lyrics here hint that she’s secretly envious of slutty women who sleep with men to get what they want:

verse 2

“when you read the newspapers every day
there’s always some hussy,
that’s having her way”


The sentiment behind the lyric is quite simple: why? Why does this have to happen? Wilkinson was a keen observer and writer and she noted her thoughts in an autobiographical tome in 2002. Through poetry and prose, she described somewhat satirically the state of the entertainment industry. Sadly, she was taken in 2005 due to breast cancer – I would have loved to have heard her commentary around now. Especially set to music.

You can take your pick or delightfully, you can pick both versions:

Rude:




Clean (TOTP):



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